The Oregon legislature is boosting state court filing fees and adding new fees in response to the current budget crisis. Among the new charges effective October 1 are fees "for each additional party named" in a complaint, and for filing or submitting ex parte an order or judgment for signature. Here is the legislation, HB 2287, from the Multnomah Bar Association web site. Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz has created various exemptions to the new fees, indicated here.
See the Oregon Judicial Department web site for tables and other details.
The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA") creates a civil remedy against those who access information on a computer without authorization, or in a manner that exceeds authorized access. The Ninth Circuit last week gave a narrow reading to CFAA, limiting its use as a tool to punish disloyal employees.
In LVRC Holdings, LLC v. Brekka, defendant was a former employee of plaintiff who, during his employment, emailed company documents to his personal account. After defendant left his employment with plaintiff, plaintiff discovered that defendant had retained the documents and used them in connection with a competing business. Plaintiff claimed a violation of CFAA along with various state law tort claims.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court's summary judgment for defendant, and dismissed the CFAA claim. The court held that, because defendant was authorized to access the documents on plaintiff's computer system during his employment, and nothing in company policy prohibited emailing documents to employees' personal accounts, plaintiff could not claim that his access was "without authorization" under CFAA.
While an employer's ability to rely on CFAA is constrained by the result in Brekka, a rogue employee may still be subject to a trade secret claim under state law.
Ater Wynne's next Roundtable session, entitled "20/20 Benefits Planning for 2010," will be held on September 17 at Bridgeport in the Pearl. For more information, go here.
A homeowner who discovers construction defects may be unable to pursue the builder on a contract theory if too much time has passed and the statute of limitations has run. And, even if the statute of limitations on a tort claim would be delayed by the homeowner's belated discovery of the defect, under the economic loss doctrine no negligence claim is available unless there is a "special relationship" between the builder and the homeowner. (See our earlier discussion of the economic loss doctrine here.) The lack of a special relationship associated with an ordinary construction contract typically makes it impossible for a homeowner to pursue a negligence claim.
But a panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals held earlier this month that an aggrieved homeowner may be able to pursue a negligence per se claim on the theory that the builder violated the Oregon Building Code. In Abraham v. T. Henry Construction, Inc., the homeowners discovered the defects more than six years after construction, making a contract claim untimely under ORS 12.080(1). The court observed that plaintiffs may nonetheless state a valid negligence claim it they can allege a breach of a standard independent of the terms of the contract. Plaintiffs identified such a standard in the Building Code, and asserted that the purpose of that Code is to protect homeowners such as plaintiffs. Based on the claim that the builder had caused damage to the home by violating the Building Code, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for the builder and remanded the case for trial.